Gold plating: how much to pay?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Yixian, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. Yixian macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm thinking of having a milanese loop band gold plated like this

    [​IMG]

    But I've never had such a thing done and wonder if anyone could advise me on what type of plating is best for something like this, and what are reasonable prices?

    Most places offer 24ct, is there any reason why 9ct wouldn't suffice? Presumably it'd be way cheaper!
     
  2. clyde2801, Jul 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015

    clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #2
    I'd go with the 24k, personally. What you're really paying for is the plater's time, expertise and equipment; the cost of the gold is almost negligible compared to the labor.
     

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  3. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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  4. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #4
    I had somebody local do this, and I think he did a great job. He's in Oklahoma City.
     

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  5. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #5
    My guy estimates it should last with a year or two of regular use. Best of all, he's local; so I can always drop it off for a same day touch up.
     
  6. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    #6
    That's awesome. Given a new model will be out in less than a year.
     
  7. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    But as long as the bands are consistent, I can sell the watch body with pain sport band on either CL or gazelle, buy the new model and have him plate that to match.
     
  8. Elak macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I have heard that the milanese loop is hard to plate because the magnet is not stainless steel and it interferes with the plating process.
     
  9. clyde2801, Jul 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015

    clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #9
    Yeah, my guy said it was a "straight up P.I.T.A.". Apparently the strong magnet keeps attaching onto the band and interferes with the plating process. He said the LB was a lot easier.

    His name is Brian Hart, and his shop is called Diversified Plating Ltd. Bhart@kpsupply.com is his email address. Hit him up and get a quote from him, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
  10. BarracksSi macrumors 68040

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  11. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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  12. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #12
    He went into his process with me in a bit of detail, but unfortunately I have a liberal arts background and I'm afraid I'll misquote him. The gist of it was that I will probably last until I'm ready to upgrade my watch (i.e. a year or two) and that I could bring it back if anything happened to the plating before that time. But it would probably be better for you to send him an email with your inquiry into his process and pricing. Same for you, Yixian.

    Picked my son up from an Apple watch workshop at the mall, and my girlfriend asked me to quietly stick my watch up against the 18k and rose gold edition models on display in the case. She thought they looked rather dull compared to my watch!
     
  13. clyde2801, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015

    clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #13
    I actually had him do two 42mm's. Here's a couple of photos the second one with a white sport band. I may be selling this one in the marketplace.

    00606_cGUHhpljo9j_600x450.jpg 00t0t_2n64bo73JmK_600x450.jpg 00V0V_az5Y4wQlpoe_600x450.jpg
     
  14. BarracksSi macrumors 68040

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  15. clyde2801, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015

    clyde2801 macrumors 601

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    #15
    Yes, it's still highly polished SS. He discovered that he got better results on the watch itself if he didn't plate it in nickel first using the traditional method of plating SS items; he figures it has something to do with the way Apple manfuctures the steel in the watch bodies. The downside of this method is that it doesn't gild the button. IMO the much bigger upside is that this method allows him to entirely avoid some of the uneven plating and flaking issues reported by people who have used other vendors. OTOH, the bands still require the nickel plating first to prepare it for the gold.

    If you're wanting to discuss plating your watch with a local company, this is good information to know.
     
  16. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Thanks for the info man!

    I'm in the Uk so I'll have to find someone else and I'm worried that the milanese loop is going to be too tricky for some of the cheaper places.. Hmm :(

    I'm thinking of getting the space grey Sport and matching it with a gold plated milanese loop, could be quite a cool combo I think but I can't find any pics so I'm not sure haha. I might try photoshopping it to be sure.
     
  17. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #17

    My guy said the ML took him at least a solid hour due to the magnet constantly connecting.
     
  18. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #18
    In theory, 9kt should be harder than 18kt, which may make it more scratch resistant. OTOH, it could be harder to work with, so that may be why other services are using more gold.
     
  19. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I think I'll go with 18ct as apparently that is the most durable in terms of jewellery, I have no idea why though.

    So now I just have to figure out how cheaply I can get this done.

    I have a feeling that the dedicated Apple Watch plating places overcharge by a pretty huge amount, because the cost of the gold itself seems to be around the $50 mark if I've calculated right for a 2-3 micron plating. However I wonder if the milanese loop actually has a pretty huge surface area due to being made up of so many tiny loops?

    Because if I can just buy $50 worth of gold plating solution and give it to an independent jeweller to do it with their bath, I'm wondering if it can be done for under $100 in total.
     
  20. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Here's a mockup of how the SG Sport would look with a gold plated milanese loop band.

    [​IMG]
    What do you guys think?

    I know the black SS would look better but I don't want to pay that premium, especially for 1st gen.
     
  21. Armski macrumors regular

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    #21
  22. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Just given a quotation of £295/$460 from EasyElectroplating.co.uk, what are they smoking?! Watchplate.com do it for £95 and I'm pretty sure an independent jeweller could do it for much less than even that.......
     
  23. Armski, Jul 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015

    Armski macrumors regular

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    #23

    They are smoking good stuff for sure! On this side of the pond it ranges from $150 to $459. I guess they are making use of the high end of that price model, and probably factoring in risks too (watches getting damaged etc). Current exchange rate comes out to 457.29 US Dollars.

    The place that can plate for $150 has this written in their description. I thought it was interesting, seems it can just be polished off at home with an mildly abrasive polishing cloth if it starts to fade in some areas, good easy way to reverse the look if a person gets bored of the gold:


    How long will the gold plating on my Apple Watch last? Do you offer a plating warranty?

    Our service provide plating of around 100 micro-inches thickness of real gold (thickest layer available).

    Therefore with proper care, gold plating should last for years. Regularly wipe your Apple Watch carefully with a soft cloth designed for gold jewelry to keep it clean and free of elements which can oxidize. Do not use metal polish on your watch as its an abrasive that will remove microscopic layers of metal.

    Your gold plating is guaranteed for 1 year. If you are unsatisfied with the finish or if you find a flaw, send us an email and we will correct the problem as quickly as possible, with no cost to you.

    Will gold plating my Apple Watch void its Apple Warranty?

    It is possible your Apple Care will be voided. However that being said, we can remove the gold plating for you professionally prior to bringing your watch in for warranty. Or alternatively use any metal polish to remove layers of gold plating.
     
  24. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #24
    I was messing around with a gold plating calculator intended for home jewellers and it suggested that a £50 bottle of gold solution could plate a Milanese loop with 3 microns (much more than watchplate) with 18ct gold AND have a fair bit of gold left over!

    For sure there is some labour but let's be honest, for a metal band there's no disassembly, you're just putting it in a bath and leaving it till its done!
     
  25. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

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    #25
    Thanks for the info, but I don't think your guy did a great job. Both of your 42mm Watches appear to have unplated crowns and/or side buttons. There's no way I'd accept an incompletely plated Watch, and there are sites that have successfully managed to plate them.

    I'll be honest and say that the brushed Space Gray aluminum looks off with the gold band. What would look better is shiny black chrome (Space Black) paired with a gold band.

    Watchplate actually used to claim 30 microns on their website, and now they've changed this claim to 11-12 microns thick. From my research, hardened gold can only be plated up to 100 micro-inches (which is equivalent to 2.5 microns). If Watchplate is plating 11-12 microns, it doesn't appear they're using hardened gold and may be using pure/soft gold, which can be plated to any desired thickness. Hardened gold is used when some wear is expected, whereas soft gold is used when no wear is required. That's most likely why Watchplate's customers are reporting premature wear, as evident by some of the photos posted here. Sure enough, Watchplate now states on their website "Where the watch makes contact with skin may rub off, but you can expect the areas visible while wearing the watch to last." This is pretty absurd and not something I'd accept as normal.

    That said, you seem to want to do it as cheaply as possible so you sound like a good candidate for one of those $99 DIY gold plating kits that you apply with a pen. Personally, if I'm going to possibly void my warranty I want it done right and go with a site that uses hardened gold that will not rub off. You get what you pay for.
     

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